Bicycle Commuting

In addition to giving access to public transportation, green buildings very often provide accommodations for bicycle commuters, since the cost of doing so is typically small relative to overall project costs. In many cities that are bicycle-oriented, increasing numbers of people are commuting to work in this healthy, friendly, non-polluting way.3 In my former home of Portland, buses and light-rail cars were outfitted to hold bicycles for the long trek home, especially in darkness (evening commutes in the winter) and rainy weather. Madison, Wisconsin, has the most mileage of bike trails for a city of its size. Over the past 30 years, the city has instituted more than 30 miles of bike paths and 110 miles of on-road bike lanes. For trips under five miles, it's faster to pedal than drive in many cases.

In addition to the obvious benefits of cutting gasoline use and reducing air pollution from automobiles, bicycle commuting can (over the long haul) reduce traffic congestion, noise (except for bicycle riders screaming curses at inattentive drivers) and lower infrastructure investment for parking lots. Generally, bicycles are used for shorter commuting trips, which help cut emissions from vehicle startup. There are clear health benefits from bicycle commuting that are important in this era of growing concern over the nation's epidemic of obesity.

To encourage bicycle commuting, the key for building designers is to provide showers (one shower for every ten users), changing rooms and safe bicycle storage. Showers are also a building amenity, since they can serve anyone who runs or otherwise exercises during a lunch break at work. The LEED standard requires bicycle racks or secure storage for 5% of a building's full-time peak occupants, either onsite or within 200 yards (such as a campus environment). So, if a building has 400 people, bicycle racks or storage lockers for 20 people would be required, along with two showers (these can be unisex, with locking doors on both sides).

Designing for bicycle commuting is neither expensive nor difficult, so it should be standard in every office building, shopping mall, campus building and other urban institutional and commercial uses. It is also socially responsible, since it doesn't force anyone to own a car to get to work, as long as they are able to ride. Combined with a car-sharing program that allows people to rent a car by the hour for emergencies, sustainable design offers easy solutions to enhance a gasoline-free lifestyle. (For residential buildings, the LEED standard requires covered bicycle storage for 15% of building occupants, in lieu of showers and changing facilities that are obviously not needed.)

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Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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